In a recent article, we addressed the critical need for established communication cycles on a project and how you can do that well on multiple levels. In this post, we tackle what happens when communication goes wrong on a project and how to fix it.
What are the key struggles in project plan communication?.
Problem: The #1 struggle in projects large and small is simply holding to the commitment for good communication, i.e., putting in the time. As we explain in the article, consistent communication within the team, leadership and to the organization as a whole is essential to a project’s success. When the project is running full steam, communication between team members, up the ladder to leadership or out to employees may be inconvenient. But it has huge payoffs down the line. People get anxious when they don’t know what is going on. Solution: commit to a communication schedule and be consistent, even when time seems better spent elsewhere.
Problem: Struggle #2 comes from the onlookers and the micromanagers who ask for every detail of the work being done even though they are not on the project team. Projects or project teams can get derailed when those outside the team constantly ask for detailed information on progress, problems and the like. With any project comes change, and with change comes the feeling of a loss of control, particularly for those not on the project team. Staff who are feeling that uncertainty will campaign for every piece of information they can get in order to get some sense of power and control. Similarly, leadership who has had to relinquish control to the project team may fall into micromanagement to ease the stress of not being in control. Solution: Commit to a regular method and format of communication, and guide those asking for more detail back to that communication, i.e., don’t let those who are on edge lead you off course.
Problem: The last struggle goes in a slightly different direction – disorganization and its impact on communication. A project team must establish the tools and methodology it will use to get the work done, including management of their team meetings. Without a clear set of tools and rules to assure that the team meetings are productive and communication lines clearly established, the team flounders. Solution: Develop meeting guidelines and tools, and stick to them, in order to give team members the knowledge and clarity to get their questions answered and their work done.
As we said in the library article, project communication is not rocket science, but it is a critical factor in a project’s success. If you struggle with project communication, give us a shout and let us help you establish some simple systems to get back on track.